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The Evolution of Your Library Card

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, a time when Richland Library joins with the American Library Association and public libraries nationwide to make sure that everyone takes advantage of signing up for and utilizing their free library card.

Giving customers access to invaluable resources, new technologies and of course favorites like books, eMagazines, movies and more, Richland Library cards have tagged along on vacations, traveled to space, paved the road to a Jeopardy win, and in recent years ended up in the wallets and purses of more than 206,000 people.

In fact, last year more than 26,000 people signed up for a Richland Library card including 2,331 out-of-county residents who paid to use the library’s resources. With more than 5.2 million items checked out last year, here’s a look back at the long and intriguing past of your Richland Library card.

•1934 The oldest card in Richland Library’s Walker Local and Family History Center collection is a paper card issued in 1934 for the Columbia Public Library.
•1979 In the 1970s, the library issued folding paper cards that depicted a map of Richland County. We have one from 1979.
1980s The first plastic Richland Library card was green, issued around 1980. In 1986, astronaut and Columbia native Charles Bolden took his aboard the U.S. Space Shuttle Columbia.
•1993 The silver cards were debuted as a celebration of the library’s move to its new home on Assembly Street. Design nods to the trees in the Children’s Room and curved lines of the building’s interior are reflected in the logo. 2005 The Wild Things cards were issued in 2005 to honor author Maurice Sendak’s long relationship with the library. They were retired in 2012 after his death.
•2012 The library rebranded itself from Richland County Public Library to Richland Library. These changes ushered in three new library card choices for customers, who can now select the card that best represents how they use the library.

Need to knock a little dust off your card or have a friend, neighbor or coworker who doesn’t have a Richland Library Card? Encourage them to sign up for the most important card they can add to their wallet. Stop by any of the library’s 11 locations in September or register for a card online at